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Passeig de Gràcia

The city’s most elegant street, which is home to some excellent buildings in the modernist style, is Passeig de Gràcia, right in the heart of the Quadrat d’Or (“Golden Square”). Artistically decorated streetlights, intricate mosaics on the pavement and expensive shops are all indicative of the exclusivity of the people of Barcelona at the beginning of the 20th century, and of their need for recognition. Some excellent examples of the Catalan variation on Art Nouveau can be seen in the collection of houses known as La Manzana de la Discordia (“Discord Block”) between Carrer Consell de Cent and Carrer d'Arago: a typical mixture of Neo-Gothic, Italian, Flemish and traditional Catalan elements can be seen at Casa Amatller (no. 41), Puig i Cadafalch.

Domènech i Montaner designed Casa Lleó Morera (no. 35), with its simple external lines and windows adorned with columns. The bone-like shapes and scaly roof of Casa Batlló (no. 43), designed by Antoni Gaudí, serve as a reminder of the dragon slain by St. George, the patron saint of Catalonia. The last apartment block ever designed by Gaudí, Casa Milà (no. 92), is known by the locals as La Pedrera, or ”the quarry”, because of its sculptured façade.

© Berlitz Publishing/Apa Publications GmbH & Co KG, Singapore Branch, Singapore

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